Coyotes (Coy-Wolves) sounding off in the distance in the middle of the night near a beaver pond in the Catskill Mountains (listen also for the hoots of a Barred Owl). Recorded around 2am, 2 October 2017 near Fleischmanns, New York. © Lang Elliott.Hi All! I’m fresh back from a workshop with the amazing David Abram, author of a fabulous book The Spell of the Sensuous (highly recommended reading!) and master story-teller. The workshop was in the Catskill Mountains at the Spillian retreat center just outside of Fleishmanns, New York. My partner Siobhan and I arrived early and went exploring. I was fortunate to stumble upon a wonderful beaver pond complex just eight miles north of the center. It was on private property, but I managed to get permission to place my binaural soundscape mic there at night.
As it turned out, there wasn’t a lot of nature-sound activity at the pond (autumn being a quiet time), with the exception of the constant trickling and gurgling of water going over beaver dams that spread across the swamp. No beaver sounds were evident except for subtle chewing at times and several tailslaps over the 3-night period. Nonetheless, I managed to snag three significant recordings: 1) Coyotes howling and yipping, 2) a Barred Owl giving its rare scream-call, and 3) a Flying Squirrel chipping from a tree overhead. The coyote recording is featured above.
To my ear, the four coyote howls at the beginning of the recording sound much like the howl of a wolf. Although wolves don’t occur in the Catskills, it is probable that these are hybrids with a significant amount of wolf genes (coyotes in the Northeast are quite a bit larger than those in the Southwest, due in part to such hybridization). So these are perhaps best referred to as Coy-Wolves.
Perhaps the most interesting vocal event during my stay was a distant Barred Owl giving wailing whistles or screams. To my absolute delight, I captured the following call-sequence, my best examples to date of this rare and unusual vocalization:
Barred Owl Screams (plus very distant hoots) heard in the distance near a beaver pond. Around 1 am, 3 October 2017, near Fleischmanns, New York. © Lang Elliott.
According to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, these screams are “female solicitation calls”. I’m not sure exactly what that means or why Barred Owl females might be producing this call in early autumn. Certainly, this somewhat tonal call is different from the more harsh-sounding squeals or screams of immatures wanting to be fed.
It was a big surprise to discover that I got recordings of the chipping calls of what I believe is a Flying Squirrel, although I’m not sure which species is sounding off (Northern Flying Squirrel, Glaucomys sabrinus, or Eastern Flying Squirrel, Glaucomys volans; both species probably occur in the Catskills). It is possible that some other mammal is making this sound, so please identify it if you know for sure.
Flying Squirrel chips or squeaks, coming from a large Norway Spruce towering above the microphone. Around 5 am, 4 October 2017, near Fleischmanns, New York. © Lang Elliott.
To provide you with a longer listening experience, I’ve created a 10-minute composite recording (mashup) that features all three species, including the honking of a flock of Canada Geese. Long intervals of inactivity have been removed to compress the time sequence. I hope you enjoy it!
Water moving over beaver dams with Coyotes howling, a Barred Owl screaming, a flock of Canada Geese flying over, and a Flying Squirrel chipping. This is a composite recording with long silent intervals removed. Recorded at various times during two nights, 4-5 October 2017, near Fleischmanns, New York. © Lang Elliott.
As always, please chime-in below and let me know what you think of these recordings. And listen over headphones if at all possible (all the recordings are binaural and really come to life when headphones are used).
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This is what has been taken away from me, by people who sic hound dogs on coyotes. For almost two decades I have tried to get my state to require landowner permission, before dogs can be allowed to run on PRIVATE-POSTED PROPERTY. They still give “hunting” dogs the freedom to trespass on another’s land,unencumbered…all year long…no closed season. The coyotes cannot escape dogs. They are killed constantly. Their voices are gone. And my 5th Amendments have been trampled upon. I have a 10 acre beaver pond out my back door…but no longer are there coyotes, singing of their love to… Read more »
This is but a small section of the beaver pond.
I miss my coyotes SO much………
It’s music to my ears!
I love the sounds of the howls!
[…] Catskill Beaver Pond […]
sign of great recordings… my cat. We have two packs that circle close to the cabin up here in vermont. i put this on and she went into alert and frightened mode as she is wont to do when they are in the field. also stalked my speaker for the squirrel recording.
Coywolves appear to be the new norm here in way upstate new york -Plattsburgh area to be exact. This is exactly how they usually sound here now – not so much yipping especially in the beginning; many longer deeper howls to start out. Several much bigger animals with a lot of red in their fur. I included an image of a big fellow caught on a game camera this summer.
Cool night-grab Glen! It interesting to learn that your Coy-Wolves start out with the deeper howls, just as in my recording. They sounded very wolfy to me.
Wonderful,as usual,Lang for me to hear these sounds which are all so different to those in my locality in Scotland. I love the totally new vision you give me of different parts of the States.. Lucky you working with David Abram. ‘Spell of the Sensuous’ had a huge impact on me….
Great book for sure!
Hi Lang, I love your website. About two years ago one of your fellow sound persons taped the Coyote Interlude. I had contacted him and asked him if I had his permission to use it in my work as a wildlife biologist. And he graciously gave me permission. The focus of my work is carnivores and Coyote is the Totem teacher. Here is my educational website: http://www.coyotelivesinmaine.com. I was wondering if you would give me permission to use this amazing Coyote howling at the beaver pond. When I give talks, people really respond when there is howling going on! I… Read more »
Geri: Yes, certainly. Sorry to have missed your post, only noticing it now in early January 2018.
Beautiful, especially the coyotes!!
Wonderful Lang! I’ve heard that barred owl sound before, very chilling, but had no idea what it was. And we have many flying squirrels here but I never knew the sound they make. Now I know. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome Susan!
Love hearing the howling of coyotes. reminded me of my dog that used to howl when i left the house. ok, had to look up the barred owl to find out why they were called that. was not at all familiar with the chipping sounds of flying squirrels. now i am. still an amateur, just stepping out of the gate. i thank you for helping me become more familiar with mother nature.
You’re welcome Lorraine. I definitely think those chips are from a Flying Squirrel, although it is possible the chipper is some other animal. I’ve recorded Flying Squirrels before and they certainly do make squeaky chips, but my previous examples sound a bit different, hence my qualifying the ID.
really wonderful to enjoy although upon hearing the coyotes, my cat decided that it was time to leave the room for a less threatening area 🙂
I certainly can understand your cat’s reaction!
I loved hearing all of the recordings, but was fascinated by the coyotes. We sometimes have them around our farm in south-central Wisconsin. I prefer to listen to them on your recording than here on the farm! If they are in our area, I fear for the safety of the young fawns!
Now we are beginning to hear a lot of Canadian geese and soon the Sandhill cranes will be gathering to leave the area for the warmer climate.
Thanks for sharing the beauty of nature through sound!
How I’d love to hear Sandhill Cranes gathering for migration. I heard them on their breeding grounds this last summer during my western journey, but just here and there. Maybe someday I’ll return to the Platte River (Nebraska) for the spring migration. I know a great spot there for recording, well away from the Interstate.
Or come to eastern Oregon, to Malheur NWR, where you can see and hear them spring and fall. And the resident Lesser Sandhills, breed there so you can so the colts with parents. They make a lovely yodeling sound. Thank you for your recordings. Heavenly.
Yes, I heard them in Malheur, but it was mid-June, so all that happened was a little duetting at dawn way out in the marsh.
I amazes me how the cranes know when and where to gather together for their journey south. One fall we took our young granddaughters to see the gathering…two large fields on both sides of the country road were packed with cranes. I got out of the car to take a photo, slammed the door shut…and a giant wave of cranes took off into the sky! What a sight!
Your recording awakened memories of this dream-like experience four winters ago in southeast VT, which I tried to capture in prose: Just before dark, a dog barks somewhere up the road. In the dusk, the pulsing culinary call of a barred owl – “Who, who? Who cooks for you?” Since first light, a chatter of chickadees flittered about the feeder. But the dog goes back in, the owl falls quiet and is off, and the bitter night wind shoos the ‘dees deep within the hemlock’s dense coverlet. And we’re back again to winter’s frigid hush. But nothing jolts a person… Read more »
Nicholas: Great prose! Are you a writer? Published any books?
Thanks Lang. Every now and again I try to capture as best I can with prose the ineffable essence of a furred or feathered encounter and then share these just with family and friends. I’ve been meaning for a long time to thank you for gifts to all of us. I will pick up David Abrams Spell of the Sensuous. Thank you.
Wow, brings back memories. So cool! Never heard the Barred Owl scream before, just juv. Great Horned Owls. Dick Schinkel
Hi there Dick. What did you think of the Flying Squirrel sounds?
Hey Lang, very cool. They usually only do that call once and it’s usually the initial call. So, so cool. I’m so glad you got it. Barred Owls rock! Hope your soundscapes trip went well. I hope you’re well and THANK YOU!!!
Sean: So good to hear from you! Are you still in CT? An trips to the Adirondacks as of late? I hope to go up there in early November.
Great to have you back Lang,sure hope you had a nice time at the workshop. I love your latest recording,as I do all the others as well,and even if its just the sound of trickling water over a beavers dam, its still music to my ears. Thank you for sharing your recordings, they truly help so many of us 🙂 Take care my friend
water over the dam sounds great to me!